Woodland scenics

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Harpo, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. Harpo

    Harpo Member

    Greetings all

    I've been starting to work with Woodland Scenics materials, and a couple of things have popped into my mind. It appears to me that their 'scenic cement' is awfully similar to artists matte medium, possibly with retarder added, and similarly, their turf color base may be nothing more, again, than artists acrylic olive green mixed with retarder and matte medium, which one then cuts with water. Or, as the thought in my weasly little brain continues, these products I just described should work just as well. Any good artist supply carries Grumbacher Liquitex products (probably the best quality stuff in that market) and the retarder and matte medium can be obtained in 1/2 or whole pint jars. Anyone had any experience using this stuff this way? In any event, I will experiment and post results.


  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Harpo,

    In model railroading, there are often many "right" answers to a given question, and there are also many cheaper substitutes for much of the materials offered at the LHS. Some require more time or effort (making your own ground foam) in order to account for their reduced cost.

    Scenic cement is pretty much matte medium as you noted. I use white glue mixed with water and alcohol to cement my ground foam, etc.

    Base colour can be bought from the "mis-mix" leftovers at your local Home Depot (or whatever's closest) - they may even re-tint it for you as long as you are not more specific than "make it dirt coloured".

    Looking forward to your experiments...

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Harpo: for years the magazines touted "acrylic matte medium" for sticking scenery. When I finally found it at the art stores, it was much more expensive (and in smaller bottles) than WS scenic cement.
    And their colours probably are some sort of acrylics. I buy the little bottles from the craft store when they go on sale or on clearance. They come in an interesting range of shades -- useful for skies and lakes if you buy blue; loads of green variations.
  4. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    The local Dollarama has a great craft area.

    They had 670g jars of "Decorative Gravel" in medium or fine. I don't know what it is, but I do know it is non-magnetic. At $1.00 a bottle, you can't lose.

    They always have the small bottles of Acrylic paint on for $1.00 they also have bottles of matte medium for $1.00 the matte medium look to be about twice the size of the paints.

    I go for the cheap stuff, LOL.
    Plus I always spread out the coffee grounds to dry when I clean our coffee machine. Both at home and at work. if you vary the brand of coffee you drink, you can end up with several shades of brown.
  5. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    Will is right on the money. Amazing what you can find at the dollar stores.

    I like WS, but just like any popular product line, you are paying for the name. There are always great alternatives for anything, much of which can be searched for here at The Gauge.

  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Probably one of the most satisfying feelings a modeler can get is to find a cheaper, easier, better way to do something. It funny how when the put a specialty label on something, the price goes up and the size goes down.
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    You got that right Don. Ever wonder why an asprin costs $6US in a hospital? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    You found a hospital that will only charge you $6 for an asprin? Wow, a bargin, around here you'd pay at least $10 for one in some hospitals. :mad:

    But let's talk about stuff we buy. You can get a large 14 oz. can of Krylon Matte spray, or flat laquer for about $3 to $4 in any home center. A small, 4 oz can of the same thing with a "Dullcoat" label on it in a hobby shop will run you around $6. I imagin if they sold Dullcoat at the hospital, it would probably run at least $50 for a small can.:eek:
  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I haven't bought asprin at a hospital for awhile. I forgot about INFLATION! :mad: :mad: :rolleyes:
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, and I'll bet you also forgot about the waiver you have to sign regarding your right to sue and whether or not the asprin will do what it is intended to do and their right to choose a generic brand of asprin to sell you. :D:rolleyes::D:rolleyes: See, you just haven't kept up with the times..:wave::wave::wave::wave:
  11. pbobby

    pbobby New Member

    Speaking of which, does anyone know of alternatives to the foam based risers that WS produces?

    For straight lines of track I've found suitable 2" foam replacements, but for curves and especially gradients I've found none. I'm making do at the moment, but would entertain any suggestions.
  12. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Like you, I used 2" foam for my risers. I use it for both curves and straights. I made cardboard templates for 18" and 22" radius centerlines and then used a homemade hot wire foam cutter to cut along the edge of the template. Worked great.

    As for inclines, my advice is to use WS. I tried making my own from 2" foam, cutting it into blocks held together with duct tape on one side so I could curve it. They came out fairly well (for the time I put into them), but in the end they just didn't make the grade (pun intended).
  13. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Doc and pbobby

    you are thinking small, guys... don't cut the foam into small bits, leave it as big as you can make it. Don't glue the foam down, first mark the track out on the top of the foam. Cut the foam just a little thicker than the track and cork roadbed. Then mark the sides of the foam with the incline you want. Take your large knife and cut the incline from the underside of the foam. What you have left is a long piece of foam with a smooth top and a varying thickness that represents your incline.

    That is how I did it for the rear "WYE" on my layout.

    Attached Files:

  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge. :)

    You can make your own grades using a home-made hot wire cutter, some extruded (blue or pink) styrofoam, and two long, straight boards.

    Hot wire cutter: The key to this is nichrome wire. This is available from Woodland Scenics at your local shop for a couple of dollars. Build a frame to stretch the wire across. Hook it up to an old powerpack using some telephone or doorbell wire. The faster you go, the hotter the wire, and the quicker it cuts.

    To cut grades: Fasten the straight boards one on either side of your styrofoam. Put a 3" drywall screw right through from one to the other, making sure that they are in the same position, and the grade is not too steep (less than 3% recommended). For a 8' length of riser, that would be les than 3" high at the end.

    To cut: heat up the wire (only takes a second) and run it along your straight edges. Voila! A riser/grade.

    To curve: Cut wedge shaped pieces out of one side. Cut them very narrow, and almost all the way through to the other side (but not quite...!). This iwll allow you to curve the riser towards the wedge side. If you need to curve the other way, turn the riser over... ;)

    You can also cut "flat" risers in whatever height you need for your elevated track.

    Hope that helps.

  15. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Good tips guys. I didn't say it couldn't be done. It just wasn't worth my time. I had two particular problems. The first was keeping the surface of the incline perfectly level. Cutting the bottom and using the sheet surface as the flat top would help, but you'd still probably have to shim the bottom some. The other problem was cutting the thin section to start the incline. Even at 4% grade, going from nothing to something was really tough. The thion section just wouldn't hold together. (I was using white beaded foam). Maybe the other stuff would work better. Using boards as guides would also help.
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The keys are:

    1) Do not use the white expanded styrofoam (sometimes referred to as "beadboard"). It simply does not have the strength the pink or blue extruded styrofoam does.

    2) Use a hot wire cutter. It is much easier to cut thin slices with the hot wire than with a knife or other tool. You use almost no pressure to make the cut, as the heat does it for you.

    3) Cut from thick to thin - makes creating thin wedges much easier.

    NOTE: This should be done in a well ventilated area!!

  17. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member


    Unfortunately, in my area (sunny Central California) all I can get is the white foam. I can special order, but only in ginormous amounts.
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    In that case, make sure you use a hot wire cutter. It makes the best cut in the white styrofoam, as little to no pressure is required. This minimizes the tendency for the board to come apart, as when you cut with a knife...

    Hope that helps.

  19. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Doc, that was your problem... wrong kind of foam. The beadboard stuff does just that, BEAD.

    I used the blue foam stuff and it is easier to cut.
  20. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    One important aspect of grades that hasn't been addressed in this thread is easments. You can't go from flat track directly to a 2 or 3% grade without problems. Could someone please advise on this issue and possable solutions?

Share This Page